Post Summary: The Best Photo Spots in Washington and How To Find (and Capture!) Them
Are you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, only to be overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the sheer amount of gorgeous places to see?
Berty and I have spent nearly our whole lives living in Washington State together, capturing beautiful pictures of Washington state.
Some of our favorite places to photograph in Washington include Rialto Beach, Mount Rainier, and the North Cascades but we also looove lesser known locations.
There are a TON of instagrammable places in Washington State that we want to share with you!
In this article we’ll be showing you the best places to photograph in Washington. We’re including some of our most iconic shots from each spot, juicy insider tips, and even the best photography tips (like the best times to visit and lenses to use) in each location.
Here is our list of the best places to take photos in Washington:
Early this year, Berty and I wrote our giant list of things to do in the Pacific Northwest to inspire us to travel more in our own backyard.
It has really motivated us to get out and explore our home state, Washington!
For all those who want a concise list of our favorite photography locations in Washington State, this is the post for you.
30 Incredible Photo Spots In Washington State
- 30 Incredible Photo Spots In Washington State
- 1. Colchuck Lake and Alpine Lakes Wilderness
- 2. Liberty Bell (North Cascades National Park)
- 3. Rialto Beach
- 4. Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park
- 5. Mount Rainier National Park
- 6. Hurricane Ridge
- 7. Lake Crescent
- 8. La Push Second Beach
- 9. Artist Point
- 10. Cape Flattery
- 11. Diablo Lake
- 12. Palouse Falls
- 13. Maryhill Stonehenge
- 14. Rattlesnake Ledge
- 15. Cape Disappointment
- 16. Lake Wenatchee
- 17. Ruby Beach
- 18. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
- 19. Deception Pass
- 20. The San Juan Islands
- 21. Scenic Hot Springs
- 22. The Hoh Rainforest
- 23. Falls Creek Falls
- 24. Popular Seattle Sightseeing Spots
- 25. Snoqualmie Falls
- 26. Riverside State Park (Bowl & Pitcher)
- 27. Leavenworth, Washington
- 28. Washington Fire Lookouts
- 29. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
- 30. The Palouse Highway (One of the best photo spots in Washington on the eastern side!)
- List Of Photo Spots in Washington
- Map of Pictures In Washington State
- MORE PNW ADVENTURES
Disclaimer: Do we think this is a complete list? No! There are SO many beautiful places in Washington – if we included every destination this blog post would be a mile long.
Even as locals, we continue to discover more beautiful photo spots in Washington we want to add to this list. Come back time and time again to check for more updates and we explore!
1. Colchuck Lake and Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Colchuck Lake is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, in a subsection called The Enchantments.
It’s located in one of the most beautiful Washington state mountain ranges – The Cascade Mountains!
The trail to Colchuck Lake is long and steep (8-miles out and back with 2,100 feet of elevation gain), but worth every step of the way.
If you aren’t able to get one, day hikes can be just as rewarding!
Looking to stay overnight? Make sure to secure the proper backpacking permits before planning your backpacking trip. These are extremely hard to get, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime backpacking trip if you can snag them!
If not, a hike to Colchuck Lake and back is a great day trip from Seattle.
2. Liberty Bell (North Cascades National Park)
Liberty Bell Mountain is located on Highway 20 in the North Cascades National Park.
Many people come to climb its adventurous rockface, but it’s just as exhilarating seeing it from the Washington Pass Observation Site parking lot!
To reach this area and photograph other amazing Washington sight sightseeing locations, take the North Cascades Scenic Byway, which is one of the most scenic drives in Washington state!
3. Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is full of adventure, wonder, and a particularly drop-dead gorgeous hike.
Here, you can find this iconic arched rock formation (accessible at low tide only!) and tide pools to explore on the north side.
The trail to this looking is on a flat, 3.4-mile hike across the beach. After arriving at the “hole in the wall’, this lookout is a steep climb to the top of the cliff facing south.
Enjoy your time here and remember the Leave No Trace principles!
More Olympic National Park Resources:
4. Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park
The Olympic National Park is one of the best places to take pictures in Washington State.
From the lush trails of the Hoh Rainforest to the rushing waters of Sol Duc Falls, this place had adventure written all over it.
The Olympic National Park is huge, so we’ve put together the perfect road trip around the Olympic Peninsula, including all the best stops!
5. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is hands down one of the best places to photograph in Washington state.
Anywhere you go, it seems like the mountain is waiting in the background to blow you away with yet another picture-perfect view.
There are many amazing Washington photography locations around Mount Rainier.
Some of our favorites include the Paradise Area, Nisqually Vista Loop, The Sunrise Area, and the beginning of the trail to summit Mount Rainier.
For some other pretty places in Washington state, Spray Falls and Narada Falls are also some incredible Washington waterfalls to check out in the area.
The trails at Mount Rainier National Park can get very busy in the summertime, so we suggest visiting early in the morning or in the shoulder season for pictures without crowds!
6. Hurricane Ridge
More often than not, this Olympic Peninsula gem is foggy and moody – a classic PNW location.
It’s been through quite a change lately – the historic lodge burned down in the winter of 2023, so renovations are repairs are a semi-permanent feature in the area right now. Check here for the latest updates on that progress.
Just out of the parking lot area though, is a perfect mix of wildflower fields and blue/green mountains. This place captures the heart of free spirits and sunset chasers alike!
Make sure to check the weather before coming here, many times Berty and I have visited only to have a huge blanket of fog covering the mountains!
7. Lake Crescent
If you are looking for places to stay around Olympic National Park, choose a spot near Lake Crescent. It’s gorgeous in the morning light!
This place not only has pristine water and beautiful views from the Storm King and Fairholme docks, but you can also hike up Mt. Storm King and visit Marymere Falls on a half-day hike.
We like to come in the morning or just when the sun sets behind the mountains for that gorgeous PNW golden hour and glassy waters.
It’s definitely one of our favorite places to see on the Olympic Peninsula!
8. La Push Second Beach
A summer favorite of many PNWers, La Push Second Beach should not be missed. Check the weather for a clear day and head down for one of the most spectacular sunsets you will ever see!
We highly recommend camping at La Push during the summer and even wrote a guide to camping on the beach in Washington to give you a head start on planning your next adventure.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are three beaches, respectively named First, Second, and Third Beach.
Second Beach is the most iconic! You can read more about other amazing Washingon beaches in our complete list here.
Recognize it from the Twilight Series? Take a Twilight Tour in Forks on your next trip to the Olympic Peninsula!
9. Artist Point
The proximity of the viewpoint of Mount Shuksan to the parking lot makes it an enticing stop if you’re not into a long hike! (Aka, it’s a very very short walk).
One of the first places you’ll pass is a lake called Picture Lake. Spend 30 minutes walking around the area – it’s incredibly beautiful on a clear day and easy to walk around the entire thing.
By the way…Berty Mandagie is a Washington state photographer and love to shoot weddings and engagement sessions up here!
Even in the summertime, there is snow on the ground, so bring a good jacket. Artist Point at Mount Baker is best experienced during sunrise – the sun peeks right out from behind Mt. Shuksan!
10. Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is the most northwest point of the contiguous United States. You can’t get more Pacific Northwest than Cape Flattery – literally!
Here, there is a short series of boardwalks to stunning vistas of the ocean and spectacular rock formations.
However, it’s not exactly on the way to anything (it’s a detour on a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula) so plan an extra few hours into your drive to visit Cape Flattery.
Go any time of day in any sort of weather. Personally, it looks beautiful when it’s gloomy AND when it’s bright and sunny.
You May Not Know: 34 Impressive and Fun Facts About Washington State
11. Diablo Lake
A stunning view of Diablo Lake and the North Cascades – AND it’s location is just off the highway.
To find this view, route your map to the Diablo Lake Overlook. There is a big parking lot (with bathrooms) with several viewpoints of the lake below.
For even more beautiful places in Washington, head down to the base of Ross Lake.
There are plenty of opportunities for camping here, including trying to snag a VERY limited spot at the Ross Lake Resort.
12. Palouse Falls
This 198-foot waterfall is actually the state waterfall of Washington. (More fun facts about Washington state here!)
We recommend going during sunrise or sunset – it’s VERY hot in the middle of the day (no trees!)
13. Maryhill Stonehenge
This historic Stonehenge was inspired by the original one in England and built as a memorial for the soldiers of the local area who fought in WWII.
Come during sunrise or sunset (like we don’t recommend this enough, HA!) for some spectacular views. You can even spot Mt. Hood in the distance on a clear day!
14. Rattlesnake Ledge
If you’ve been in Seattle only a little bit, SOMEONE is bound to have recommended you hike Rattlesnake Ledge, of of the most iconic hikes near Seattle.
The incredible view of Rattlesnake Ledge from the top is loved by families and photographers alike. It’s a perfect location for an iconic Washington photo for minimal effort.
The hike is easy enough to complete in a half-day, or even a morning. Go on a weekday for fewer crowds (it gets very busy on the weekends).
If you’re curious about what to expect on this hike, we’ve created a guide to Rattlesnake Ledge, including the best times to visit and where to take photos!
However, we also think a great time to go is on a Sunday evening -families have already gone home in preparation for the week ahead. It’s surprisingly quiet!
15. Cape Disappointment
If you’re looking to channel your inner Wes Anderson movie, this is the place for you.
This state park is located in the most southwest corner of Washington state and is a perfect stop on a road trip of the Oregon Coast.
Bring good hiking shoes and a few good hours to spend exploring the many trails here. After a long day of exploring, head over to Oregon and explore all the cool things to do in Astoria!
We’ve created a guide to Cape Disappointment to some secret coves, trails, and directions of how to reach the lighthouse!
16. Lake Wenatchee
This place is a favorite in all seasons. Just a short drive west of the quaint German town of Leavenworth is the glacial-fed lake with its iconic island.
We like to visit during sunrise, for some pretty amazing colors and a beautiful reflection on the lake!
Read about our latest sunrise at Lake Wenatchee and see the amazing Washington pictures we got!
Lake Wenatchee has tons of hiking trails that surround the lake. It can get pretty windy here so keep that in mind if you are planning to camp!
17. Ruby Beach
Here, you can explore the many rock formations and sea stacks along the beach and climb over huge pieces of driftwood.
It’s a little more rugged here than La Push, so if you’re looking for a little adventure – this is your place.
18. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and surrounding areas are the perfect photo spots in Washington for geology buffs!
This is also one of the most well-known places in Washington state – because of the recent eruption!
Here, you can see the remnants of the 1980 eruption, and how the surrounding landscape is recovering and changing because of it.
Make sure to stop by the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where you can watch a short film about the eruption and see unobstructed views of the mountain right out the window.
We highly suggest visiting Mount St. Helens during the summer season, because this is when the wildflowers are in bloom!
19. Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a Washington state park located on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound. With 4,143 acres of camping, hiking, and marine exploring, there’s something here for the whole family.
One activity we suggest doing is walking across the bridge. The wind is very fierce in this natural corridor, but exciting nonetheless!
20. The San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are the perfect place to capture that Washington State photo. To sum up the San Juans in a few words, we would say this: ferries, marine life, driftwood-strewn beaches.
Some of the best spots on San Juan Island include wandering Friday Harbor (lots of museums and galleries!), Lime Kiln State Park, and exploring on kayak for hidden coves.
If any of these beautiful Washington features spark your desire, we highly suggest taking a weekend trip to go explore more.
It’s very easy to ferry hop around the other islands, Lopez Island and Orcas Island for an exciting weekend of exploring the Puget Sound!
Only have one day to spare?
Try taking an affordable whale watching cruise, that departs right out of downtown Seattle! You’ll be able to explore a bit of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and explore the surrounding Puget Sound by boat.
21. Scenic Hot Springs
Scenic Hot Springs is a hidden gem of Washington state. With reservations required and a steep hike ahead of you, only the determined and tough make it up here!
We’ve got an entire guide on what to expect at Scenic Hot Springs, but nothing beats experiencing it for yourself!
We suggest coming in the winter, when the water feels that much warmer and the snow falls quietly on the surrounding trees!
Looking for more amazing Pacific Northwest hot springs? We’ve got a guide for that too!
22. The Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is easily one of the most well-known photography spots in Washington state.
Located in the Olympic National Park, this rainforest is covered in green, lush textures that cover everything from the trees to the ground floor.
It’s one of the coolest places in Washington state to visit if you love flora and fauna – there is an abundance of both here!
23. Falls Creek Falls
If you love waterfalls, you need to plan a trip to Falls Creek Falls in Washington!
This is a way to moderate trail, about 5.5 miles round trip. Located in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, it has everything that makes Pacific Northwest hiking trails special.
This includes the waterfall, walking along the river’s edge, a bridge crossing, and meandering under a canopy of trees.
It’s easily one of the best photo spots in Washington state! We suggest coming in the late spring when the water levels are high.
24. Popular Seattle Sightseeing Spots
Okay, we know these aren’t the most “natural” Washington scenery spots you can find, they DO deserve a spot on this list!
Popular for good reason are places like Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, The Museum of Pop Culture, Kerry Park, and more!
For sweeping views of the city, go up to the Space Needle Observatory (605 feet high) for a 360 degree view of the city. If you want an even higher perspective, check out the Columbia Tower Observatory (902 feet)!
For more documentary-style photo spots in Washington, check out Pike Place Market.
Built in 1907, you’ll find vendors selling fish, fruit, flowers, and handmade crafts. It is also said to be one of the most haunted places in Washington…do you agree?
25. Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls is one of the prettiest places in Washington.
This waterfall is also a sacred spot for the Snoqualmie Tribe, so make sure to stay on tht right side of all guard rails for respect, and your own safety!
Want to stay longer? One of the most romantic getaways in Washington are located right at the top of the falls – The Salish Lodge!
26. Riverside State Park (Bowl & Pitcher)
Located in Eastern Washington, Riverside State Park is one of the most underrated scenic Washington locations!
Riverside State Park is on the edge of Spokane, with lots of access points to enjoy the river and mixed-use hiking trails.
One of the popular sections of the park is the Bowl & Pitcher area, where you can walk across the epic timber bridge originally built by the CCC for the park.
Come during sunrise and sunset for some incredible pictures of the Spokane river!
27. Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth is an incredible little mountain town, known for it’s Bavarian style!
And we REALLY mean that – the entire town is decorated to look like a little German town out of a children’s fairy tale storybook.
It shines the BRIGHTEST in the winter season, where the entire place is decked out with lights for the Christmas holiday season.
However, we think it’s a great time to go in any season. Summer provides access to incredible hiking trails (like the Enchantments!) and opportunities to get on the river.
28. Washington Fire Lookouts
While fire lookouts take some time and effort to reach, it’s absolutely worth it for some of the most iconic Washington state scenery you can find.
Some of the most popular Washington fire lookouts include Park Butte Lookout, Mount Fremont Lookout, High Rock Lookout, Hidden Lake Lookout, and Quartz Mountain Lookout.
Each have their own unique history, and some even have the ability to stay overnight inside!
29. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Every April, the Skagit Valley in Washington State is overflowing with fields of color, texture, and types of spring-blooming flowers.
Tulips are most popularly grown here, and Seattleites and more flock to snap photos of these beautiful fields every spring!
Roozengaarde is one of the most established tulip fields in the area, but there are plenty of farms to come explore too.
30. The Palouse Highway (One of the best photo spots in Washington on the eastern side!)
Along this route, you can explore historic Eastern Washington spots like Steptoe Butte State Park, Patit Creek Campsite, and Steptoe Battlefield State Park.
We suggest coming in the springtime, when the rolling hills are a lush green colors! It’s also best during sunrise and sunset.
The Palouse Highway is one the most beautiful photo spots in Washington!
List Of Photo Spots in Washington
Here is a summary list of the best photo spots in Washington!
- Colchuck Lake in The Enchantments
- Liberty Bell in North Cascades National Park
- Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park
- Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Hurricane Ridge
- Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula
- La Push Second Beach near Forks, WA
- Artist Point in Mount Maker Ski Area
- Cape Flattery on the Olympic Peninsula
- Diablo Lake off Highway 20
- Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington
- Maryhill Stonehenge in the Columbia River Gorge
- Rattlesnake Ledge near Snoqualmie Pass
- Cape Disappointment on the Washington Coast
- Lake Wenatchee near Leavenworth
- Ruby Beach on the Washington Coast
- Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Moument
- Deception Pass in the Puget Sound
- The San Juan Islands (San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez)
- Scenic Hot Springs near Stevens Pass
- The Hoh Rainforest
- Falls Creek Falls in Gifford Pinchot National Forest
- Popular Seattle Sightseeing Spot
- Snoqualmie Falls
- Riverside State Park in Spokane
- Leavenworth, Washington
- Washington Fire Lookouts
- Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
- The Palouse Highway in Eastern Washington
Map of Pictures In Washington State
Love these Washington pictures but having a hard time locating them for your trip? We’ve created an interactive map that you can click on and explore more of these specific spots!
Did we miss your favorite place for an Instagram in Washington? Have you been to any of these photo spots in Washington? Let us know in the comments below!
MORE PNW ADVENTURES
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